Rival Salience and Sport Team Identification, p. 97-106

Tara B. Luellen
Daniel L. Wann

Team identification has been defined as an individual’s psychological connection to a team (Wann, 2006). Outgroup or rival team salience is the awareness of a specified outgroup or rival team, and its impact on team identification was explored in this series of studies. In the first study (N = 143), participants viewed either a neutral sports video or a rival team highlight video. A repeated measures ANOVA was performed and supported the hypothesis that a salient rival team would increase identification. The second study (N = 67) examined the impact of a researcher wearing either a rival team shirt or a neutral sporting brand shirt on identification. The univariate analysis of variance did not reveal any identification differences between the two shirt conditions. In the final study (N = 163), participants’ identification was again assessed at two points in time: prior to and after watching a neutral campus tour video or a rival team’s campus tour video. Consistent with the findings of Study 2, the repeated measures ANOVA showed no differences in identification between the two conditions. Taken as a whole, the three studies suggest that rival team salience can lead to an increase in sport team identification, but only when the specific domain of the team (i.e., the team itself) is made salient. The major implications for this research applies to sport marketers and involves ways to increase sport consumption, including increasing team identification in locations that would likely lead to consumption, and the impact that joint efforts in marketing teams could have in reference to game attendance and team-related merchandise purchases.